Fizan Compact Ultralite
High quality Italian made ultralite aluminum trekking…
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 68 USD per pair
High quality Italian made ultralite aluminum trekking poles at a very good price. At 158g/pole and 58cm packed down, these poles are ideal for anyone who flies to their hiking destination or simply carries poles for rough terrain, river crossings, or when fatigue sets in and wants to carry a pair just in case without adding extra weight to their pack.
- Very lightweight at 158g per pole
- Reasonably compact at 58cm packed down
- Affordably priced
- Quality construction
- Basket could be slightly bigger
- Paint scratches off easily
- Some small rough spots from the plastic molding process that had to be sanded out
From the manufacturer:
The COMPACT model is the world’s lightest 3 sections aluminium trekking pole which weighs just 158 grams per pole. They have been used successfully on difficult ascents of Everest and K2.
- Aluminium alloy 7001
- 3 sections telescopic 58-132cm
- Flexy Locking System
- Eva Grip with Neoprene strap
- E-Basket with Carbide tip
- Tip Rubber protection
- 50mm basket
I purchased these Fizan poles in the U.K., where they are sold under several different store brandings, as well as with the Fizan colour scheme. The ones I purchased are sold through and branded for Rohan (a travel and outdoors clothing outfitter), they are also sold through the Cotswold stores. A multitude of other stores also sell the regular Fizan branded version, and can easily be ordered from North America. I ended up buying the Rohan branded version simply because they were on sale for 44 GBP ($68) for the pair.
I am not a regular pole user, but I prefer to carry a pair just in case terrain becomes really rough, river crossings, setting up a tarp/shelter, or for extended hikes when fatigue sets in. In that regard these poles are perfect as they collapse to a very reasonable 58cm, and weigh just 158g each, meaning they are barely noticeable strapped to my pack.
Also being lightweight, they are perfect for traveling whether flying or by train to hiking destinations. This isn't so much of a concern in North America, but currently living in the UK where I don't own a car and tend to fly and train to most of my hiking destinations, this is a real bonus. These would also be of major interest to ultralight enthusiasts and backpackers where shedding even a few grams can be a big bonus.
Design features and Ease of Use:
As far as telescopic trekking poles go, these aren't greatly different but there are some slightly different features. Unlike most other poles where the locking mechanisms feature a bulky plastic ring on the shaft, in the interest of cutting weight, the Fizans have nothing external, just the smoothly finished shaft, with the locking mechanism situated internally.
The mechanism is easy to use, once set up properly with a firm twist (no need to overdo it as you will strip the inside of the shaft and damage the mechanism) I have not experienced and slippage. I am 5' 10 1/2", 200 lbs, so not the lightest person, and as soon as I got over the fact that these poles were so unusually light, I felt very secure with them.
Another important feature is a very comfortable EVA grip which has never caused me fatigue even after extended use (10+ hours), and dries fairly quickly after sweating. They come with adjustable neoprene straps which are fairly comfortable on the wrist with no chaffing/abrasion and are very easy to adjust through a small locking clasp at the end of the handle. The straps are sufficiently long to adjust to taste.
The tips are standard carbide, and seem to be holding up well to use on mixed terrain (from mud to rock). They give reasonably good traction on mixed terrain, both dry and wet and have held up well over multiple extended hikes.
Some minor complaints:
The one knock on the design would be the inclusion of the rather tiny baskets (50mm), it would have been nice if they were a little bit bigger, especially for use on scree and snow, but that's just a minor complaint. Otherwise the baskets stay on firmly, and are not overly difficult to switch out.
Another issue is trivial, but since these come painted quite beautifully regardless of which branding package you purchase (either Fizan, Rohan, Cotswold etc) is that the paint, especially on the lower end of the shaft starts to scratch off quite easily. So far mine don't look too bad, but I can definitely see a bunch of scratches especially on the lower end of the shaft. Also, there were some small slightly sharp edges left from the molding/manufacturing process. No big deal, and they certainly were not dangerous or affected quality, and I suppose for the price paid, I cannot expect perfect quality control on the more trivial parts, but it is small things like this which contribute to ones overall perception of product quality. Either way, it was nothing a little bit of 300 grit wet sanding couldn't fix.
So far the most demanding conditions I have used these is in northern England (Yorkshire Dales) for a long 26 mile hike over mixed terrain as well as several (23 and 12 mile) hikes in South Wales (Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains). They were used on rock, bog, mud, river crossings, and including steep ascents (400-750m peaks) and descents on both trails as well as wild terrain.
I have been using them since the start of the summer and have nothing but good things to say about them so far.
Construction and Durability:
The initial impression on these, because they are so lightweight is that they would be weak and flimsy. That is quite far from the truth. They are very well designed and very sturdy and as I have gotten over how light they are, I have become very confident in using them. So far they have proven to be very well made and reliable, and other than some paint scratches have shown no signs of wear or damage and have no problem handling my 200lb frame over rough terrain.
Ultimately these are highly recommended and are well worth ordering from Europe if you are in North America. Considering the quality and construction, they are also very reasonably priced.